Getting a residency in a nightclub is hard work, and how to earn one is a question without a straight forward answer. However, I will go through it all in this article. I believe it is on every DJ’s to-do list, and I believe that the most passionate and hardworking DJs will eventually get the chance to play in a nightclub most weekends in front of an audience, if they stick with it. So, how can you get there?
Well, I will explain what I believe comes into play from my nine years of knowledge and experience in Melbourne’s clubbing scene, so that you can get a deeper understanding of where to start and what you can implement to further your chances of getting booked for DJ gigs.
Become a Part of a Nightclub
Becoming known in the venue at which you want to play is more important than any other factor when you’re looking to get a DJ residency in a nightclub. You could be a great DJ and music producer, have a decent following and still not get one over the person that shows up to a nightclub week in and week out, while building quality relationships. I have seen it firsthand. The music industry doesn't always reward people that have the talent. This can be frustrating, but that’s how it works.
How we change it all is to go through what I like to call the process of elimination, to further and better are chances.
One of the most important factors when it comes to getting DJ gigs is the quality of the relationships you have with people of key influence. I take it you are already a confident DJ, and that you have the skills and music selection that would suit the nightclub at which you want to play. If you are not sure, you haven't done your research. So here’s how we can kill two birds with one stone.
Be committed to show up to a nightclub you wish to play at each week. First be a loyal, passionate supporter of the club, bring a few friends each week, and become known. Build rapport with bar staff and security, get to know promoters, and support your local DJ. Building points of contact, which is what I like to call rapport, comes before the friendships begin.
By showing up, it demonstrates that you are committed and that you want to be a part of the night. This sounds so simple, but many DJs and producers just don't do it, at least not enough. This is how you start to become friends with people that all share the same passion for what you do, and you can start to build a network, which is what every DJ needs. Every DJ needs their own tribe of people to get booked and cement a residency. While you do that, you can study to learn how the current DJs perform, and can compare your current skills and music selection to these individuals. You need to know if you could honestly do a better job.
Become a Promoter
This is a way you can further your chances to build a network and become friends with people of key influence, in order to get that foot in the door. To become a promoter, you basically have to show that you are loyal to the club, that you can bring friends each weekend, as well as make new friends or contacts in order to get more numbers in the door. This is what promoters do, and they also sell tickets. Promoters are generally better networkers with bigger connections than most.
They are always in the driver’s seat when it comes to suggesting what local DJs the event organizer can put on in a nightclub. This is how I got to become a resident DJ in Melbourne for Majik Entertainment, and it is how I got the DJ gigs I always dreamed of. It is fair to say that now you get the idea that networking is paramount from what I have mentioned above. Now it’s up to you to do the work.
You as a DJ and Producer
Going further into the process, I want to go over your skills in both DJ and music production, as I believe it is necessary to have both ticked off to a degree.
Your DJ Skills and Style
Can you replace any DJs that have the gigs you are after? That is what you have to ask yourself, and you have to ask yourself, “Will my style and music selection be both unique, which means different, and suit the night?” If you really believe you can do a better job by playing better music that will be unique and keep a crowd dancing all night, while also having some proof through online DJ mixes that people can listen too, is essential. It’s not about having superior, flawless mixing skills, it is about having the music and style that works for that club.
Are you on your way to developing your own unique sound? Are you releasing music and getting people’s attention online? Plays, likes and follows are essential to a DJ’s profile, and give the promoter a sense that you can be influential and indeed bring a crowd with you to a club. The bigger the profile, the less risk a promoter has to take when booking a DJ, as it gives them the confidence that you can fill the place with a sufficient amount of people.
The quality and quantity of music you put out there determines how big you can grow as an artist, as well as how much success you can have when it comes to the gigs. Music production is essential, not only to build a brand and profile, but to also get a DJ residency.
Your Online DJ Branding
A successful DJ career is very dependent on your brand and what you represent as an artist. It is also about how you are perceived in the public arena and how professional you look, as image comes into play more and more these days. Having a professional looking brand will most definitely increase the chances of you getting booked, as long as you have applied or are about to apply the above steps mentioned.
Should always be clean cut, which means looking appealing, creating interest and value along with your music. Utilize your social media outlets as best as possible in order to make an effort to look presentable on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook, while using Soundcloud, Mixcloud and Youtube for your music platforms. When people look at any profile, they what to know who you are, what you do, and what you represent. Tell your story, as people want to know you.
Your Marketing and Promotional Efforts
Your future as a successful DJ depends on you growing your brand. If you are not growing, you are hindering your chances of getting booked for ongoing gigs. Music and marketing equals growth, along with knowing the right people in the music industry to get the gigs. If you are not investing in your brand by consistently posting valuable content on social media and adding more music like mixes and latest productions, plus investing money on advertising to market your music, you will never get the gigs you want and reach your fullest potential. We, as DJs, cannot be ignorant to the fact that we need to market ourselves in order to get noticed in a noisy world. It’s not the early 2000s anymore. The new generation needs to know how to market themselves, at least at a basic level.
Your Personal Limitations
It’s been said by successful people like Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy that eighty percent of most success in life comes down to your own psychology, while the other twenty percent of success is the mechanics, which in other terms, can mean your skills. Let’s just say, for arguments sake, that they are slightly wrong and that it was a fifty-fifty percent scenario, in which it was half psychology and half skills. Where would that put the modern DJ when it comes to getting success in a nightclub, and what would be holding anyone back from achieving great things in the music industry?
The Fears, False Stories and Excuses
These are your greatest enemies, not your competition, promoters, nightclub owners or anyone else for that matter in the music industry. You are your own worst enemy when it comes to being successful and getting want you want in life and in the music field. Your fears, excuses and stories you tell yourself stop you from setting out and going for what you want. When you realize you can only fail when you give up or stop putting in daily effort, you gain a sense of power and realize it is up to you and you alone.
Nobody in the music industry is going to save you. You have to put in the work so that other people out there know that you are committed, that they can jump on board to help you go out and achieve big things, like gigs, a residency, label releases, exposure and much more. When people know you are on a mission and dedicated, they will be more inclined to help, but if you think it is the other way around, you could be in trouble.
I hope this article has given you insight into what I believe will contribute to your success. Feel free to comment below.